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John Dickerson Assesses Role Of Media In Times Of Rising Partisanship

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - In the wake of recent polls indicating a decline in public trust in media organizations, Face The Nation moderator John Dickerson told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that, as political partisanship rises, he still aims to elevate the conversation.


"Explain things in context. Don't go for the cheap, incendiary conversation. Try to present things for viewers in a way that illuminates the state of the issue, what's being debated and what the choices are that people have to know about. That's something that we should've been doing and have been doing for a long time."

Dickerson contrasted the way he conducts Face The Nation with more partisan offerings on cable news outlets.

"They tend to talk about things in terms of politics and partisanship. This person did this poorly or Donald Trump may have done this, but what about this awful thing that the other guys did? That, actually in terms of illuminating what's at stake in an issue, is not that useful because it's about combat as opposed to saying, here's a set of findings that came out from, let's say the Office of Management and Budget, and here's the way we put that in context relative to the past, relative to the current situation, here's where it might favor the administration, here's where it might not. That's a conversation, the choice of the thing to talk about is also what's different."

He also commented that the way consumers interpret reporting has changed, splitting into partisan battles.

"This is not just something that only the media has a role in though. People consume news in a different fashion that they used to. Studies have show that people tend to gravitate towards the news that confirms what they think beforehand. When they hear something that contradicts a view they've already held, they tend to hold on to the original view, not change their minds about a new view. There's a lot more motive questioning of people who have a view that's different than yours. Those are all things that people need to check in their own behavior or else then you're going to trust people just as a matter of course and it's also going to be hard to get good information. You'll get just the information that your team is offering."


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